I had heard about him but on Saturday night I met Scott Lumpkin. He is the owner and operator of Skate Mountain Records in Daphne, Alabama. Just as we stepped into the doorway, Scott greeted us and offered to take us on a tour of the place. Shortly into the tour I got sidetracked by someone who knew me and stopped me to engage in a conversation. I did get to see the skateboarding ramp mounted into one wall in a room which also featured skateboards hanging there for the ready if one was so inclined…..that would not be for me…(due to fear of a broken hip---I'm old)
It turns out that Scott is just as nice and warm and personable as my son had told me. He was a gracious host for the event we had come to see; Abe Partridge’s CD and Art release. Abe is one of the artists signed at Skate Mountain Records. Another band I know pretty well is signed there too; they are called The Underhill Family Orchestra. A great group of young people who put on one heck of a show. I believe I first met them at The Soul Kitchen on Dauphin St in Mobile when a group of musicians were lined-up and they were playing just ahead of my son, Eric Erdman. I have seen them since then in several other shows in Baldwin County.
This night at the CD release the music was performed in a combination room to accommodate a crowd. The furniture was quirky and plentiful and large pillows were available for anyone who wanted to be seated on the floor. It sounds like an adventure but my old body screamed “No, find a chair Juanita”. I got a great seat right near the stage area but it was mostly a view from the side, which was just fine for me. It left me facing not only Abe but my dear friend Molly Thomas.
The opening musician was Abe's friend Kyle Keller. This is a young singer/songwriter I had not heard before and he was wonderful. He sang his originals with a great smoky voice and his repertoire of songs were deep, sometimes sad, sometimes dark but full of true feelings and experiences... just as all good singer/songwriters know how to do. I am going to get his CD (EP) the next time I see him...I just had no cash on me that night. I will borrow my son's copy until I see Kyle again.
Abe is as unique an artist as I have ever seen. I have not ever known a musician that opened themselves up so widely, letting their pain and despair pour out for the audience to consume. I am always amazed at how he totally and unashamedly bares his soul for everyone to see. Emotions filled up the room and tears flowed from his eyes as he sung of the gut-wrenching pain of going off to war, leaving his babies crying…this picture stuck in his head and the heartbreak of it all stayed on repeat in his memory every hour he was gone.
I will say that “you had to be there”is an appropriate description.
He has a song named “Colors” that touched me.
It may not have been his intention when he wrote the lines but for me it says things do not always turn out like you planned it, but life and love are not black and white. (I get that, I know that, I lived that.)
Musicians are deep with their feelings, and songwriting gives them a release for those feelings and it also allows, us (the audience) to feel it too! So singer/songwriters are my very favorite people. If their words make me laugh, cry, or even ask why…they have done their job well.
This CD release was unique just like Abe Partridge. The emcee was Jared “Jay B” Boyd…a journalist for al.com. To me, Jay B is a magnetic sort of guy. I first met him through my son Eric Erdman, when he came to a show. He has a spark that is rare. There is something about Jay B that makes you want to be near him. He is warm, personable, intelligent and expressive; add to that his gentle ways and his great conversation skills…he is quite a guy. Yes, he did use some “words” that are not acceptable in church, but that was alright with me.
Abe took the stage and it was all a big emotional blur after that. He captured us with his talent, he captured us with his music and he broke our hearts and captured us with the stories of his life. Abe has lived through so much but overall he is one of the luckiest guys around with a supportive mother and a wonderful wife, Catherine. Catherine has been his backbone that propped him up through it all, she has been his soft place to fall when he could not stand and she remains by him through whatever life throws at them. He is a lucky man.